Correct Correspondence – Reader Q&A

Q. I wanted to see if you would be willing to give a little clarification on how to address people on an envelope. Specifically, with titles and without titles. Also, what about women who don’t change their last name after marriage? I appreciate your help!

A. Thank you for reading! I am more than happy to help. Let’s start with the basics. If John Smith and Jane Smith are married and are of equal ranks, it would Mr. and Mrs. John Smith. If you choose a more informal approach it would be Jane and John Smith. The old adage is, “you never separate a man from his name.” Yes, it’s a little dated, but it’s a decent way to remember which name goes first. If Jane had kept her maiden name of Johnson, it would be Mr. John Smith and Ms. Jane Johnson. She would never be addressed as Mrs. Smith, as she didn’t take that name. She would be Ms. Johnson. Now, let’s say she did take his last name of Smith. Traditionally, she would always be referred to as Mrs. John Smith and not Mrs. Jane Smith. Nowadays, it is completely acceptable to list Mrs. Jane Smith, if that is her preference.

If Jane is a doctor, and her husband is not, on the envelope it would be Dr. Jane Smith and Mr. John Smith. If they are both doctors, it may read Drs. Jane and John Smith.

If children are included on the envelope, they are addressed on a separate line below their parents’ names. For a boy, traditionally under the age of 10, the title of Master is to be used. He drops having a title after 10 until he turns 18, at which time he becomes a Mister and warrants his own invitation, even if he lives with his parents.

Girls traditionally did not have a title until age 10. It’s very common now, though, to refer to a female as Miss from birth on. At 18, she, too, receives her own invitation, even if she resides with her parents. I hope this helps!

 

 

Thursday Thoughts

I remember as a freshman at Texas A&M University – Commerce, my English professor told us that one day all that will be left to remember you will be your writings. Now, I don’t fully agree with this, but it definitely struck a chord with me. I don’t actually remember a time I haven’t written. I have journals back from when I was in the second grade. I actually have the entry I made from the very first day I laid eyes on Garrett. Who knew then that we’d marry and have a family.

Books have always held a special place in my heart. I’ve fallen in love with characters’ stories and places. Truly, I miss Mitford and get homesick for Harmony and Hogwarts. It will likely come as no surprise that my love extends to etiquette books. I find it completely fascinating to see what’s changed (as well as what hasn’t) with etiquette. The fact that Emily Post is still popular today gives me hope, even if some of the Emily Post Institute’s advice is a little casual for my taste.

In short, I am excited to have an upcoming series on different etiquette books! I think you’ll find it as interesting as I do, and I hope you’ll learn something you’ve never known before in the process.

As always, thank you for reading!